To commemorate the 2000th anniversary of the Lord’s birth, 15 prophets, seers, and revelators issued and signed “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org). They are God’s “special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:23). Especially at Christmastime, we can be blessed by reviewing and reflecting upon their powerful testimonies of our Lord and Savior.
One approach is to take time daily to ponder individual statements from this powerful proclamation. The December 20-26, 2021 outline of “Ideas for Personal Scripture Study” in the Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families focuses on five key excerpts (emphasis added):
“None other has had so profound an influence.” This statement encourages us to appreciate Christ’s cosmic and earthly greatness, “Worlds without number have [been] created … by the Son” (Moses 1:33). Yet, Jesus was born in a manger and during His ministry cared for those in need. His atoning sacrifice at Gethsemane and upon Calvary’s Cross, “Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:18), should inspire us to “worship him with all [our] might, mind, and strength, and [our] whole soul” (2 Nephi 25:29).
“He rose from the grave.” Because Christ was the first to rise from the dead, all mankind will also be resurrected. As Paul taught, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). The resurrected Jesus also appeared unto and taught thousands of living witnesses both in Israel and in ancient America. No matter what happens to us in this life, we know that our spirits and bodies will be reunited.
“His priesthood and His Church have been restored.” The priesthood holds: “The key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:19-20). This means that baptism by water and by the Holy Ghost as well as other sacred ordinances can be endowed upon both men and women. With restoration of priesthood keys, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is again “built upon the foundation of … apostles and prophets. Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20).
- “He will someday return to the earth.” We can look forward with faith “that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisaical glory” (Articles of Faith 1:10). This should motivate us to follow the counsel of Alma: “Repent, all ye ends of the earth, for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand; yea, the Son of Man cometh in his glory, in his might, majesty, power, and dominion” (Alma 5:50).
“He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world.” This statement helps us to move through life without doubt or fear. Jesus taught, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). If we keep Christ’s “commandments and endure to the end [we] shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 14:7). This enables us to “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men” (2 Nephi 31:20).
Watching for Missionary and Ministering Opportunities
We need to keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open for opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. Do not hesitate to share copies the Book of Mormon (paper or digital). During Christmas we should invite missionaries into our homes and assist them in teaching our friends and neighbors. Our efforts will help in preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, for “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations” (Matthew 24:14).
Jesus frequently extended invitations to “Come, follow me” (Luke 18:22). One way for us to follow Christ is to look for ways to serve others this Christmas. We should look for ways to minister to any who are sick, hungry, isolated, or discouraged.
A key resource in serving others this Christmas is the Church’s Light the World 2021. This website provides a variety of suggestions and opportunities for us to “Share His Light” and offer meaningful service to others. In our families and communities, we need to seek continually for ways to bring “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).